Physicians are taking a long, hard look at the benefits and rewards of taking a non-clinical position at a health insurer.

Dr. Sosunmolu Shoyinka will be speaking on this topic at the SEAK Non-Clinical Careers for Physicians Conference on October 22-23, 2016 in Chicago.

Here is a recent interview with Dr. Shoyinka:

Q:  Dr. Shoyinka, how do physicians who work for health insurers make a difference in the lives of patients and the general public?

  1. Ensure quality of care while reducing waste in healthcare.
  2. Contribute a clinical perspective to strategic business/policy decisions made by health plans.
  3. Contributing a clinical perspective to state policy decisions. This can be invaluable in the long term.
  4. Spotting opportunities for creative program development and driving/assisting with program creation for special populations.
  5. Training clinical teams thereby improving overall quality of care management. Supporting clinical staff is a key role that can make a real difference as they work with individual members.
  6. Serving as a link/translator between direct service providers and insurers. This often takes the form of working with providers to ensure that valuable insights, practices and programs get noticed and potentially scaled up using managed care resources and tools.

Q:  What are health insurers looking for in physicians who are interviewing for positions?

  1. Solid clinical background.
  2. Unusual skills/perspectives/background that bring added value.
  3. People skills: being able to work in teams and with all types of personalities from all types of backgrounds is key to being successful in this role.
  4. Creativity.

Q:  What might a “typical day” be like in the life of a physician working in the health insurance industry?

  1. There is no such thing! This varies greatly depending on the role, the company, the market, and the team. Also depends greatly on the individual physician’s interests and personality.
  2. Basically, a mixture of health plan administrative meetings, clinical reviews, reviewing data and working with it to develop programs, working with staff and meeting with providers. It’s not boring!

Q:  What one piece of advice would you give to physicians who are looking to break into the health insurance industry?

Expect to be challenged, but expect to learn a lot, quickly. It’s like no other role.

Sosunmolu Shoyinka, MD is a Medical Director Behavioral Health for Cenpatico Behavioral Health/Sunflower State Health Plan in Lenexa, Kansas where he oversees clinical services planning and utilization for over 140,000 covered lives. He is a Yale, Columbia, and NYU trained psychiatrist and addiction medicine specialist. Dr. Shoyinka also maintains an active clinical practice focusing on individuals with co-occurring disorders and complex behavioral health needs. He regularly speaks at national and local conferences on topics relating to integrated care and is a SEAK Non Clinical Careers Conference alumnus.